Celtic reluctant to let McStay go

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The Independent Online

The future of Paul McStay, the Celtic captain, remains a matter of utmost concern north of the border, with the Premiership leaders, Blackburn Rovers, among those who have expressed an interest in the 30-year-old midfield player.

McStay, who has been dropped for Celtic's last two games, is doubtful for today's visit to Hearts because of a calf strain. Tommy Burns, the Celtic manager who has been unhappy with some of his captain's recent performances, said: "I think Paul McStay fit and raring to go is a big, big asset to any football club.

"I started talks with him about four weeks ago about a new contract. We didn't get down to the nitty gritty, but we'll do that before the end of the season."

Hearts will be minus the suspended Jim Bett and John Robertson from the side that achieved Monday's 4-2 win in the Scottish Cup over Rangers.

Rangers, 14 points ahead of second-placed Hibs, will be seeking to stay on course for the title at home to Alex Totten's in-form Kilmarnock. Basile Boli is the only addition to their squad.

It will be debuts all round after the three-man transfer deal involving Motherwell and Falkirk. Falkirk will field Paul McGrillen and Steve Kirk in their game against Hibernian at Brockville, while Motherwell look sure to start Eddie May against Aberdeen at Pittodrie. For Aberdeen, Brian Irvine, their Scottish international defender, returns after a four-month absence.

Dundee United entertain the bottom club, Partick Thistle, at Tannadice while the top game in the First Division sees Raith Rovers aiming for an 11th successive win at home to Dundee.